PRHS celebrates Teachers of the Year
This year two Porter Ridge High School teachers won Teacher of the Year awards: English teacher Rachel Lukasik and CTE teacher Kenisia Taylor. Lukasik won Teacher of the Year for PRHS and Taylor won CTE Teacher of the Year for PRHS and made the Top 5 for UCPS! These awards were given to recognize teachers’ above and beyond efforts and because they have demonstrated commitment toward their students and their profession.
Lukasik answered a few questions about teaching and the award and its impact.
What do you love about teaching? “I love the relationships I build with students and watching them grow in their confidence with skills! The dialogue we have in class creates a safe space for students to have civil discourse and learn to understand one another! I love how much fun we have.”
What was your motivation to win this award? “I actually wasn’t motivated to win because I was genuinely surprised by the nomination in the first place! Winning meant my colleagues chose me and knew about my efforts with my students in the first place. That meant more to me than any part of this process!”
What was the process like? “The process was simple! First I was nominated, then administration and staff came to my room to observe a lesson. Finally, I had to go through an interview process where I discussed my teaching practice!”
How has earning teacher of the year impacted you? “Winning teacher of the year has been so exciting and I am grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the faculty and students. I feel validated in my practice and my purpose for teaching has felt reinforced!”
Taylor also commented on teaching, the importance of CTE teachers and the award’s impact.
What advice would you give to future teachers? “Teaching is one of the most fulfilling careers as teachers help to create a better world by educating students to be productive citizens. I would advise future teachers to continue to be creative and keep the learning experience fun. Surround yourself with other teachers that enjoy teaching and have a positive outlook. Limit the amount of work that you take home–teaching is a profession and should not be confused with volunteer work. Maintaining balance and separation between work and home will lead to continued contentment in your career choice. Financially, to live well on a teacher’s salary, it is important to not incur unnecessary debt and to invest in the purchase of a home as soon as you can, to lead to increased stability in the future.”
Why do you think it’s important to be a CTE teacher? “Teaching Career and Technical Education courses is so critical to the student’s high school experience. CTE teachers help students to learn and practice skills that are required in the 21st century workforce. Whether the student plans to enter the workforce immediately or after attending college, CTE courses help students to determine their interests and ensure readiness for success in the workplace.”
How has earning this award impacted you? “I am so grateful and excited to represent PRHS as CTE Teacher of the Year! This award is a reminder that what we do as teachers matters and is noticed not just by our students but by our peers. I appreciate fellow teachers that also bring their best each day and I share this award with them!”
Porter Ridge congratulates Ms. Lukasik and Mrs. Taylor, 2021-2022 Teachers Of The Year!
Written by Hazel Colin-12th grade student